Coral destruction in WPS 'troubling, very alarming' – foreign envoys

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 19) — Two foreign ambassadors have expressed alarm over reports of destruction of marine resources in the West Philippine Sea, with the Philippine military saying Chinese vessels were likely behind it.

United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson took to social media platform X, formerly Twitter, to express her concern.

"Troubling @CoastGuardPH and @TeamWESCOM reports on coral destruction around Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal," she said Tuesday, referring to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command.

"Habitat damage harms ecosystems and negatively affects lives and livelihoods. We are working with our #FriendsPartnersAllies to protect [the Philippines’] natural resources," she added.

Meanwhile, Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa described the development as "very alarming news," as he urged everyone to protect "these vital ecosystems."

"Our oceans are the lifeblood of our planet, and coral reefs are its colorful heartbeats," he said.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila was quick to respond to Koshikawa's social media post, even quoting the latter's sentiment on X.

China then dismissed the Japanese envoy's post as "disinformation."

"Oceans are indeed the lifeblood of our planet. So stop the release of contaminated nuclear water from Fukushima," it said, criticizing Japan's wastewater release late in August.

On Monday, the PCG said it would tap experts from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute to assess the damaged coral reefs in Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal.

PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Jay Tarriela noted that from Aug. 9 to Sept. 11, they monitored 33 Chinese maritime militia vessels in Rozul Reef, and another 15 in Escoda Shoal.